With coronavirus, predicted grades and algorithms having led to chaos for some A-level students, AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) is calling on school leavers to consider a career in finance – whatever their results
As GCSE results are published today, official results show that the pass rate in England increased from 70% to 79%, with a sharp rise in English and maths.
In English 80.2% got a grade 4 or pass compared to 70.5% the previous year. In maths 77.2% passed compared with 71.5% the year before.
AAT is urging anyone receiving results and thinking about their post-school options to consider taking vocational qualifications, such as through an apprenticeship scheme, as an alternative to university.
In a year when the Covid-19 pandemic has been problematic both for how university places are offered and how the ‘university experience’ can operate, apprenticeships offer a debt-free route to employment, and the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’.
Accountancy – a profession open for all
Accountancy has arguably been one of the most stereotyped professions. In order to be successful as a professional accountant or bookkeeper, you are often perceived to be a ‘white, middle-class man in [a] sensible suit, sitting in stuffy offices poring over ledgers’, an image AAT acknowledged a few years back with ‘Colin: a new kind of superhero’ – a spoof YouTube video which played up to the stereotype.
In reality, among the eclectic mix of celebrities who have studied accountancy are rock legend Mick Jagger, comedian Eddie Izzard, pop singer Janet Jackson and acclaimed American author John Grisham.
In addition, suggestions that accountancy has a male bias appear to be unfounded. Approximately two-thirds of AAT’s 130,000 worldwide members are female, while a significant number of students and members are from BAME backgrounds.
The perception of sitting in a ‘stuffy office’ as an accountant is also something of a misnomer. With technology taking away much of the number-crunching, accountants are increasingly acting in a consultancy role, using real-time data to advise clients of their current financial position and producing more accurate future forecasts.
Rob Alder, head of business development at AAT, said: ‘AAT’s accounting qualifications are open to all regardless of exam results, background or age.
‘Many of the courses can be studied at home either through a variety of online teaching resources, increasingly combined with a blended delivery with classrooms that are being re-opened with social distancing in place.
‘And a finance qualification can help you reach the top of almost any profession. Over half of CEOs at the leading FTSE 100 companies have a financial background, while the CEO of the Financial Reporting Council, Sir Jon Thompson, began his career by taking AAT qualifications.